Who We Are
Diplomatic Language Services (DLS) is a premier provider of language services to the federal government, military, and the private sector. From language and cultural training to translation, interpretation, and curriculum development, we maintain a single objective: understanding and exceeding our customers’ expectations.
Providing expert, quality-focused, language services with consistent attention to our client’s needs
Placing high priority on serving our clients in a timely manner and adapting quickly to their needs
Trust and Respect
Interacting with our clients positively and building relationships based on honesty and solid business ethics
Seeking ways not only to solve problems, but to turn the better into the best
WHAT WE DO
Every day we hear variations of the same story, “XYZ referred me here because they really enjoyed their class at DLS.” The majority of students who learn a foreign language with us receive sponsorship from the federal government or another employer, but we also cater to self-sponsored students, who are using a foreign language to advance their careers and to accomplish their personal goals.
As one of our Spanish students explained, what foreign language learners get at DLS is, “not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather customized language training geared toward adult learners and government professionals. They care about your needs and work hard to see you improve and succeed, providing an intensive learning program that even includes mock exams. DLS is hands-down the best in the business.”
Interested in enhancing your language skills? Please contact us for a complimentary consultation.
DLS is the language service provider of choice for several government agencies. Our services include instruction in more than 85 languages, curriculum development, translation, interpretation, cultural training, linguist support, and testing. We serve our government clients located across the U.S. and around the world.
In serving government clients for over 30 years, we have learned to anticipate our clients’ evolving needs and provide responsive services. As priorities change and new challenges emerge, we are always ready to perform a needs analysis and provide customized, cost-efficient solutions for your unique requirements.
DLS is a long-term partner with the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among others.
DLS is here to help your business go global! In an increasingly globalized world, your potential to tap into new audiences is limitless. Our language training, customized curriculum development, translation and localization services will enable you to communicate anywhere in the world.
We understand that every business has its own corporate culture and unique approach to the global market. At the start of our collaboration, we will discuss your company’s culture and goals to tailor the best approach to meet your objectives.
- Air Force Security Assistance Squadron (AFSAT)
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Center for American Progress
- Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO)
- Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center
- Defense Language Institute – Washington
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Commerce
- Department of State
- FBI National Virtual Translation Center
- International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX)
- National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)
- National Institutes of Health Sandia National Laboratories
- U.S. Census Bureau
- U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
And many more….
Our employees are our number one asset. They deliver top-quality language and cultural training, design innovative curriculum, and provide superior linguistic support for translation and interpretation requirements.
Chief Executive Officer
Jim Bellas is our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. He assures that we live DLS core values, pursue our purpose, and leads the team that provides strategic and financial leadership at all levels. Jim works directly with partners, clients, and vendors in both the government and private sectors. Because DLS is committed to continual improvement, we have become the premier provider of language services, including training, testing, and curriculum development. Beyond his day job, he enjoys performing at open mic nights, traveling, and spending time with his four adult children and four grandchildren.
Chris Bellas joined DLS in 2007 and has been leading us as President since 2010. He directs our strategic and financial planning. Chris has had a strong interest in foreign languages since his college years, where he studied Mandarin Chinese. Chris holds a BA in Economics from Ohio State University.
Executive Vice President
Raluca Angelescu is the Executive Vice President. She has been with us since the company was acquired in 2006. Her focus is overseeing new business development through the capture, bid, and post-bid phases of the process. Part of that is integrating new lines of business into operations. Her successes include assimilating curriculum development and OCONUS linguist deployment. Raluca earned her MBA from the University of Maryland.
Director of Language Programs
Molly Sampson joined our Language Training Department in 2007. She worked as the Program Manager of the Curriculum Development Department prior to becoming the Director of Language Programs. Molly has also worked as an English instructor in the Washington DC area, San Francisco, and Kenya. She brings a unique perspective through her academic background in Anthropology and Education from Bucknell University and a M.A. in Anthropology from American University.
Lindsey joined DLS in February of 2017 as our Student Services and Event Coordinator. Now she manages our front-end operations and facilities and provides executive support to our CEO and other executive team members. She holds a BA in Exercise Science and a Master’s in Business Administration. She enjoys any outdoor activity, especially running, soccer, golf, and kayaking.
Human Resources Director
Natalia Stepanov joined DLS in May 2013 as a Human Resources Generalist. She holds an MA in Psychology from Moscow University and an MA in HR from Marymount University. She is fluent in Russian. She loves diversity and the DLS culture.
Shruti Shrestha has been working with DLS as a Junior Accountant since February 2014. She is from the beautiful country of Nepal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting. She also has four years of experience in customer service and accounting.
Accounting and Contract Administrator
Pim Tovanabutra joined DLS in 2014 as a Thai Language Instructor. She then became a Human Resources and Project Coordinator. She earned a BA in English Literature in Thailand before receiving a MA in Human Resource Management.
Penny Teng joined the DLS team since June 2018 as a junior accountant. She graduated from Assumption International University, Bangkok, Thailand with B.A. in Business Administration. In her spare time, she loves cooking, spending time with her two dogs and hanging out in parks.
Director of Salesforce & Marketing
April Bellas was part of the DLS team from 2008-2010 as Student Services Coordinator Intern. She rejoined the DLS team in October 2015 as Marketing Coordinator. Prior to rejoining, April worked extensively in marketing and office management to help recently graduated chiropractors build their medical practices. She believes in empowering people to share their languages and cultures to increase understanding.
Blythe joined DLS in August 2019 as a Marketing Coordinator. After graduating from American University with a BA in Journalism with a Marketing minor, she worked in various communications positions including content creation for WeddingWire and as Junior Editor at a startup DC-based fashion magazine. She loves learning, doing yoga, and traveling.
Junior Salesforce Administrator
Florian Joined DLS in January 2022 as the Junior Salesforce Administrator. He holds a certification in Salesforce Administration and has an affinity for customer service as well as language learning. He is fluent in French, Spanish, and conversational Portuguese. Outside of work, he enjoys snowboarding, hiking, and creating new recipes with his wife.
Abigail Roberson joined DLS in July 2021 as a Data Management Intern. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in Foreign Languages before receiving a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is currently working towards a Master of Information Science degree at Florida State University. Prior to DLS, Abigail worked in several roles within higher education and has experience with research, content writing, and document management. She enjoys learning about history and volunteering as a Spotter for the National Weather Service in her free time.
Samantha Estes joined the DLS team in February 2022 as a Marketing Intern. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a BA in Public Relations and a focus in Digital Marketing. Prior to joining DLS, Samantha interned for a consulting company and a travel blog. She is excited to move out to DC, explore the city, and meet new people.
Registrar & Client Relationship Manager
Alma Sadikaj knows how to match your requests to DLS’ capabilities through her years of combined experience in international development, political affairs, program management, training and coaching, human resources and recruitment, logistics and operations, education, administration, marketing, sales and client relations. Prior to joining us, Alma worked in both the non-profit and private sectors. Her passions are gardening, travel, and acquiring insights about how cultures and languages are linked.
Registrar & Human Resources Liaison
Bethany joined DLS in 2013 as the FSI project coordinator and a recruiter until 2017. From 2017-2019 she worked as a project manager for an ePortfolio company, Digication, and then joined the Association of American Colleges and Universities as a researcher and project manager. In 2019, she re-joined DLS to support Janet Chou in Herndon, coordinating language training programs and student services. Starting in 2021, she joined the human resources and registrar departments to begin her journey in industrial psychology.
Kate Marden joined the DLS recruiting team in 2011. She started her career in the language services industry with a medical interpretation company in Minneapolis after earning a BA in German from Georgetown University. Kate also spent several years recruiting immigration court interpreters for the DOJ before joining DLS. While at DLS, she earned a MS in Exercise, Fitness and Health Promotion from George Mason University, and she uses that knowledge to run several of DLS’ wellness programs.
Clayton Crockett joined DLS in September of 2018 as a Curriculum Development Coordinator. He’s from Lafayette, Louisiana, and since earning his BA in International Studies at Louisiana State University, he’s lived and worked as an ESL instructor in Turkey, Spain, and Kuwait. He spent six months studying Arabic in Tunisia before joining the team at DLS, and he currently coordinates projects in Modern Standard Arabic as well as Levantine and Moroccan dialects.
Language Training Manager
Valerie Matagne is the Language Training Manager in our location in Elkridge, Maryland. She has a degree in Linguistics and Contemporary Literature from France. Valerie has worked as a French instructor and an academic director in the Washington DC area before joining DLS. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling.
Language Training Manager
Janet Chou joined DLS in 2006. Currently, Janet is the Herndon Language Training Manager, overseeing the operations of Herndon location. She has a MA in Chinese-English Translation and Interpretation from Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Language Training Supervisor
Dudley Hagen has been with us for many years. Before joining DLS, he was part of a company selling pipeline equipment requiring extensive travel in Russia. He gained insight into Russian business culture and went on to receive his BA in Russian from Dartmouth College, MA and CPhil (ABD) in Slavic Linguistics from UCLA. He also has an MA in English and TESOL from George Mason University.
Simona Floris Westlund
Language Training Supervisor
Simona Floris Westlund has been working at DLS since 2010, supervising various departments, including Romance languages, Arabic and African languages. She holds a BA in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Cagliari, Sardinia and an MA in Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies from the University of Siena.
Language Training Coordinator
Simona began working at DLS in 2016, first as an Italian instructor and curriculum developer, and in 2017 she started her current position as a LT assistant for romance languages. She moved to the US from Abruzzo, Italy, in 1999. She has a degree in economics and a Master of Arts in Italian from Middelbury College. She has close to 18 years of collegiate teaching experience, including teaching at George Washington Univeristy, Catholic University, and Pennsylvania State University.
Faraidoon Saadat joined DLS as an instructor in 2011. He was then promoted to Pashto Language Training Supervisor in 2012 due to his educational background and professional expertise in areas of teaching methodology and linguistics. He showed continued success in providing language learning counsel to students and capacity building and professional development trainings to the AfPak program instructors. Therefore, he was promoted to AfPak Language Training Supervisor in 2016 helping Pashto, Dari and Urdu instructors and students. Mr. Saadat has more than 10 years of experience teaching adults. He has been an evening faculty member at Northern Virginia Community College since January 2012, teaching English as a Second Language. He is fluent in four languages. He has a BA in English Linguistics and Literature and a MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Kansas State University.
Language Training Coordinator
Tameem has a BA in economics from Kabul University, and has held different linguistic, teaching, and translation positions since 2003, including working as an ESL instructor and as a linguist for the US Military in Afghanistan. At DLS, he has worked as an instructor for the AfPak project and a curriculum developer for the SOCOM project. In 2017, he began working as a language training assistant for Dari, Pashto, Urdu, Arabic, Hindi, and Russian instructors.
Language Training & Resources Manager
Christina Hayes arrived at DLS in 2010 and spent her first year working as a Mandarin Chinese instructor. She then earned a full-time position as a Language Training Specialist. During that time, she hosted professional development trainings and workshops for foreign language teachers. In 2013, she began working in her current position as the Language Training Supervisor for Asian Languages. Christina was born and raised in Shijiazhuang, China. Later on she moved to Nanjing, China to attend university and obtained her B.A. in Finance and a second major in Business English.
Language Training Coordinator
Lia joined the DLS team in 2020 as a Language Training Coordinator for the Asian Languages Department. Having grown up in China and spent time in Indonesia as an adult, Lia has a love for all things Asian. She has a B.A. in Linguistics and B.A. in Chinese from the University of Maryland, College Park. In her spare time, Lia loves spending time with friends, drinking coffee, and playing piano & guitar, sometimes all at the same time.
Language Training Coordinator
Cate joined the DLS team in 2020 as a Language Training Intern. She has a Bachelor’s degree in international studies with minors in Arabic studies and religious studies. She spent time studying and living in Sweden and Jordan. She enjoys traveling and spending time with friends.
Katia Anderson is a native Russian and Belarusian speaker with a Master’s degree in Foreign Languages and Teaching from the Linguistic University in Minsk. Katia taught English there, as well as Russian at DLS and GMU, worked as a contract translator and supported the US mission in Minsk, Belarus, as well as that of the Defense Attaché Office in Kiev. If she is not rowing or traveling, she is likely studying another language or reading. At the moment, she manages one of the government contracts for DLS.
Tara is the proposal manager in DLS’ Business Development department, helping to win new and recompete business. She worked for DLS from 2014 to 2017, primarily managing government proposals, and returned in 2020 after three years living in Singapore, where she worked at the U.S. Embassy for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Tara has also lived in Japan, where she taught English, and prior to her business-oriented career, she was a professional ballet dancer for seven years. Tara holds a BA in Communications from the University of Maryland.
Sean T. McBeth
Sean T. McBeth is the head of VR/AR at Diplomatic Language Services. As a senior software engineer, he builds virtual and augmented reality games, training simulations, and abstract data visualizations. Audio synthesis and processing, computer vision, peer-to-peer networking, real-time communication, hardware prototyping, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are other areas in which he has worked.
Judy joined DLS in June 2020 as a Software Engineer working with the VR/AR projects. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Electrical/Computer Engineering. She has spent most of the last 25 years as a Software Engineer working on all aspects of CAD software development. She has lived in Poolesville MD with her family for over 30 years and is a Volunteer EMT with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. She channels her creativity into knitting and designing knitwear which she publishes online. She enjoys staying active, biking, and is often seen working on a knitting project while out on her daily walks.
Liz Redd joined DLS in September 2014 as Student Services and Facilities Coordinator and now manages the Translation and Interpretation Department. Some of her strengths are adaptability and individualization and she appreciates the challenge of making sure all of her department’s projects are catered specifically to the needs of each client. Liz keeps up on the ever-evolving field of translation and interpretation through webinars, articles, and conferences and is always trying to make sure she understands the work from the perspective of the contractors we work with. Liz enjoys learning about other cultures and people through travel, reading, food, and personal language study.
Curriculum Development Project Manager
Holly Mueller started at DLS as the editor of a curriculum development project for Army Special Forces but not long after began managing several development teams. While at DLS, she has managed projects for clients including Special Operations Forces Language Office (SOFLO), Army Special Forces, Naval Special Warfare, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, the Defense Language Institute, DLNSEO, and SCOLA in Russian, Dari, Pashto, Persian-Farsi, Urdu, Swahili, Portuguese, Italian, Hindi, Turkish, German, Mandarin Chinese, Punjabi, Modern Standard Arabic, Moroccan Darija, Spanish, and French. She earned a BA in English and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, both from Brigham Young University.
Kelsey is a project administrator in the Curriculum Development Department. She joined DLS in 2017 as a curriculum development coordinator. Kelsey is currently working on the National Language Service Corps project, with a focus on curriculum development and language proficiency testing. In the past, Kelsey has managed several GLOSS projects and assisted on a variety of other curriculum development projects. Prior to joining DLS, she worked in project and personnel management and held several teaching positions. She earned her Master of Science in Linguistics from Georgetown University and her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Client Support & Operations Coordinator
Danijela Adams joined DLS in October 2021 as the Client Support and Operations Coordinator. She holds a BA in Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University and is fluent in Croatian and German. She loves traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Client Support & Resources Coordinator
Thomas joined the DLS team in 2021 as Client Support & Facilities Coordinator. He holds an M.A. in Linguistics and TESL from George Mason University and a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia. In addition to his work at DLS, Thomas has also been teaching ESL since 2017. When he is not traveling or studying other languages, Thomas can be found cooking, doing outdoor activities, or trying out new cafes in the area.
Angelica joined our DLS family as the facilities assistant during the summer of 2017. She is currently working towards her degree at BYU-Pathway WorldWide. She is a native Spanish speaker who grew up in El Salvador. In 2005 she came to the United States to live with her family and get a better education. Angelica loves the outdoors – a few of her favorite activities include hiking, biking, and camping. She is passionate about dogs and enjoys spending time doing humanitarian work. Angelica is also an avid runner and can be found running whenever weather permits.
IT & Customer Support Specialist
Gurjit Singh joined DLS in October of 2021 as our Customer Support and IT Specialist. He supports front-end operations and facilities with Technology needs and provides technical support to staff and students. He enjoys any outdoor activity, biking, spartan races, swimming, and is fluent in Hindi and Punjabi.
Mission and Vision
We make the world better when we understand each other.
We further communication and understanding in the world through our work as a leading language services provider, recognized for quality, responsiveness, and forward thinking.
To be the service provider of choice – Success exceeding our student’s and customer’s goals;
To be the workplace of choice – Attracting, nurturing, and retaining the very best people;
To be an organization that is vibrant and innovative – Reinvesting for constant and never-ending improvement;
To make a difference – Through our services and by contributing to causes about which our community cares.
DLS CORE VALUES
The only mistake you can make is not being open about your mistakes.
To get something, give without expectations of getting; don’t get then give.
If it is to be, then it is up to me.
Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it, or renegotiate.
Set others up for success.
DLS provides language training to Foreign Service Officers and government personnel
DLS wins first contract with the Defense Language Institute – Washington (DLI-W)
DLS becomes the first language services company to be awarded a GSA schedule
DLS linguists translate the Osama bin Laden tapes
DLS opens a satellite office in Hanover, MD
DLS launches AFPAK Hands, a language training program for military in Afghanistan
DLS opens an English language program in the UAE
DLS awarded contract for translation support services for NVTC
650 students graduate from our AFPAK program (phase 1) with 52% exceeding training goals
DLS develops a performance-based (vs. proficiency-based) language training curriculum with the Navy Special Warfare Center
DLS provides interpretation services to President of Peru during his first visit to the United States
DLS opens a satellite office in Herndon, VA
DLS moves MD office from Hanover to expanded facility in Elkridge
DLS moves Herndon office to a larger facility, doubling number of classrooms
DLS develops mission-focused, integrated Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC) curriculum and subsequent teacher training for the Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC)
DLS continues to expand Herndon Location
DLS awarded contract for translation support services for NVTC (second time)
DLS awarded DLI-W multiple award IDIQ contract (Fifth time)
DLS expands Elkridge & Herndon locations, doubling number of classrooms
DLS expands curriculum development support for DLNSEO’s CultureReady Basics training tool
NIST security compliance achieved
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction. ACTFL is an individual membership organization of more than 12,500 language educators, students, and administrators.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. We do this by Setting standards for marketplace trust – Encouraging and supporting best practices by engaging with and educating consumers and businesses – Celebrating marketplace role models – Calling out and addressing substandard marketplace behavior – Creating a community of trustworthy businesses and charities.
Virginia Chamber of Commerce (VCC)
VCC’s mission is to be the leading non-partisan business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory, civic and judicial arenas at the state and federal level to be a force for long-term economic growth in the Commonwealth.
Maryland Chamber of Commerce (MCC)
Maryland’s businesses need a strong voice in Annapolis to help the state compete regionally, nationally and globally. The Maryland Chamber is that voice, and they bring businesses and policymakers together to achieve that goal. The Maryland Chamber is the only organization focused on growing all of Maryland’s businesses.
Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO)
CALICO is an international organization dedicated to research and development in the use of computer technology in language learning: computer-assisted language learning (CALL).
American Translators Association (ATA)
The ATA was established in 1959 to advance the translation and interpreting professions, foster the professional development of individual translators and interpreters, and is now the largest professional association of translators and interpreters in the United States with more than 10,000 members in 90 countries.
National Capital Area Translators Association (NCATA)
NCATA is the Washington, D.C. region’s local chapter for the American Translators Association, serving translators, interpreters and other language professionals.
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International
ASTM International is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of voluntary consensus standards. Today, over 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance health and safety, strengthen market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.
Foreign Area Officers Association (FAOA)
Established in 1995 by a group of senior Army FAOs, the FAOA exists to foster community and networking opportunities.
Young Presidents Organization Gold (YPOG)
YPO is the premier global leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries and the global platform for them to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact.
Washington Network Group (WNG)
WNG is a membership organization of professionals in business, finance, technology, foreign and government affairs, established in 1995. WNG is dedicated to helping WNG Members advance their business and professional objectives by facilitating networking events, educational forums, and career development opportunities.
TiE Global is a nonprofit venture devoted to entrepreneurs in all industries, at all stages, from incubation, throughout the entrepreneurial lifecycle. With a global reach and a local focus, the heart of TiE efforts lies in its five foundational programs, – Mentoring, Networking, Education, Funding, and Incubation.
Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR)
The SIETAR was founded in 1974 as an interdisciplinary network for trainers and researchers in the area of intercultural and cross-cultural communication.
American Management Association (AMA)
The AMA is an American non-profit educational membership organization for the promotion of management, based in New York City.
National Museum of Language (NML)
NML’s mission is to inspire an appreciation for the magic and beauty of language. NML brings together people from diverse language circles – academic, governmental, social, business, scientific, literary, technological – and provides a public forum through which they can focus attention on language as a human phenomenon and languages within broad cultural settings.
Association of Language Companies
The Association of Language Companies (ALC) is a national trade association representing businesses that provide translation, interpretation, localization, language testing, and language training services.
Organization of Foreign Affairs Professionals
DACOR are an organization of foreign affairs professionals whose careers are defined by international impact. Our members are united in their belief that diplomatic relationships based on deep political, economic, and cultural understanding can solve international problems and change the course of history.
Commercial and Governmental Entity (CAGE) Code
Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)
General Services Administration Schedule (GSA)
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
Language Schools – 611630
Educational Support Services – 611710
Translation and Interpretation Services – 541930